1. #1
    Ant__.'s Avatar Senior Member
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    Not seen much discussion of books lately, so having finished 'Sink The Belgrano' by Mike Rossiter I thought I'd share it with you.

    The Belgrano of course saw action in the Falklands / Malvinas Conflict of April 1982 and was sunk by the British Nuclear Submarine HMS Conqueror - it was the first ship to be sunk by a Torpedo by a British Submarine since WW2. The salvo of three torpedoes fired at the Belgrano were also pretty much the same as the ones used in WW2 as well! The Belgrano was originally an American vessel - the USS Phoenix, which survived Pearl Harbour, which I didn't realise, and I have consequently discovered she was of course held in great esteem by America.

    The book covers the background to the conflict, exploring the political motivation behind the Argentine invasion of South Georgia. It was interesting to learn just how passionately the Argentinians see the islands as their own. It also covers the frustration of the British Submarine Commander at the infighting between British politicians and their armed forces as they argued over who should be in command of the Air Force and Naval vessels sent the 8,000 miles into the South Atlantic to intervene.

    I was a lot younger than I am now when the the events in the book took place, I do of course recall watching the evening news every day and British troops yomping across barren windswept heathland and naval vessels at anchor in small bays and coves with Argentinian jets screaming across the sky above them. I also remember the footage of a couple of the British vessels aflame with smoke pouring from them, having been hit one of the handful of Exocet missiles the Argentinians had.

    I didn't realise how close the British came to losing however! The number of British ships sunk or disabled is far higher than I thought, and HMS Conqueror herself experienced problems, one of which a crew member was mentioned in dispatches for his attempts to fix a communications aerial in hostile waters and for unwrapping it from the sub's propeller shaft.

    Overall, I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it. It certainly taught me a lot about the conflict from both sides of those involved and to me, that's what reading about history is all about. Today, HMS Conqueror resides against the wall , rusting away in Scotland awaiting scrapping.

    Mike Rossiter is also the author of the excellent 'Ark Royal' - The search for the sunken WW2 Aircraft Carrier, again a great read.

    Some photo's:


    Bottom left - the TDC aboard HMS Conqueror still set with the firing solution for the Belgrano:


    The infamous British Newspaper headline (Bottom Right) 'Gotcha' reports the Belgrano hit - but fails to mention it sinks:


    The Argentine submarine, Santa Fe, (Top Right) was located almost by luck and the consequent attack by British helicopters rendered it out action for the remainder of the conflict - greatly reducing the risk to the British Carriers Hermes and Invincible:
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  2. #2
    Ant__.'s Avatar Senior Member
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    Not seen much discussion of books lately, so having finished 'Sink The Belgrano' by Mike Rossiter I thought I'd share it with you.

    The Belgrano of course saw action in the Falklands / Malvinas Conflict of April 1982 and was sunk by the British Nuclear Submarine HMS Conqueror - it was the first ship to be sunk by a Torpedo by a British Submarine since WW2. The salvo of three torpedoes fired at the Belgrano were also pretty much the same as the ones used in WW2 as well! The Belgrano was originally an American vessel - the USS Phoenix, which survived Pearl Harbour, which I didn't realise, and I have consequently discovered she was of course held in great esteem by America.

    The book covers the background to the conflict, exploring the political motivation behind the Argentine invasion of South Georgia. It was interesting to learn just how passionately the Argentinians see the islands as their own. It also covers the frustration of the British Submarine Commander at the infighting between British politicians and their armed forces as they argued over who should be in command of the Air Force and Naval vessels sent the 8,000 miles into the South Atlantic to intervene.

    I was a lot younger than I am now when the the events in the book took place, I do of course recall watching the evening news every day and British troops yomping across barren windswept heathland and naval vessels at anchor in small bays and coves with Argentinian jets screaming across the sky above them. I also remember the footage of a couple of the British vessels aflame with smoke pouring from them, having been hit one of the handful of Exocet missiles the Argentinians had.

    I didn't realise how close the British came to losing however! The number of British ships sunk or disabled is far higher than I thought, and HMS Conqueror herself experienced problems, one of which a crew member was mentioned in dispatches for his attempts to fix a communications aerial in hostile waters and for unwrapping it from the sub's propeller shaft.

    Overall, I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it. It certainly taught me a lot about the conflict from both sides of those involved and to me, that's what reading about history is all about. Today, HMS Conqueror resides against the wall , rusting away in Scotland awaiting scrapping.

    Mike Rossiter is also the author of the excellent 'Ark Royal' - The search for the sunken WW2 Aircraft Carrier, again a great read.

    Some photo's:


    Bottom left - the TDC aboard HMS Conqueror still set with the firing solution for the Belgrano:


    The infamous British Newspaper headline (Bottom Right) 'Gotcha' reports the Belgrano hit - but fails to mention it sinks:


    The Argentine submarine, Santa Fe, (Top Right) was located almost by luck and the consequent attack by British helicopters rendered it out action for the remainder of the conflict - greatly reducing the risk to the British Carriers Hermes and Invincible:
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  3. #3
    Celeon999's Avatar Senior Member
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    Very interesting RJ


    Didn't know either that the Belgrano was once the USS Phoenix. I always assumed Argentina bought her from Italy or built her alone.
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  4. #4
    Nice review, might be worth a look
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  5. #5
    Ant__.'s Avatar Senior Member
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    Thanks guys. It was definitely a 'Oh? I didn't know that' kind of read
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  6. #6
    Hmm, something to add to the list of "things to read". Thanks!
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  7. #7
    Thanks for the heads up on this one RJ Will look out for this book next time I'm browsing for a new book to read!!
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  8. #8
    NaKacu's Avatar Member
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    RJ! Thanks man! Please, keep us posted on your new reads!

    I just finished reading Hitler's Naval War by Cajus Bekker -- and what a read! Highly recommended for those who want to know a lot in a short time about Germany's 1939-1945 naval operations...

    Now I am trying to romp through The U-Boat Wars 1916-1945 by John Terraine.... probably the last u-boat book I will read for a while because:

    a) It's sooo exhaustive
    b) I seem to be finding a lot of cross references between the stuff I read and stuff I am reading -- meaning I am slowly "completing the circle" of quotes and refrences....

    Next on the plate we have US Naval ops 1941 - 1945 books to kill my 40 minute rides on the train these days back and forth to/from work.
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  9. #9
    An interesting aspect of the Falklands fighting was the agility of the Argentine A-4 pilots. The British naval losses could have been much higher had it not been for the fact that many bombs (500 kg.) were dropped so low that their fuzes hadn't time to be be activated. This fact finally came to the attentian of the Argentines via a British newspaper article!

    The bible for any U-boot enthusiast must be Dönitz' own biography: "Ten years and twenty days". The quarreling between the Kriegsmarine and Luftwaffe (Raeder and Göing) was amazing!
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  10. #10
    Ant__.'s Avatar Senior Member
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">The British naval losses could have been much higher had it not been for the fact that many bombs (500 kg.) were dropped so low that their fuzes hadn't time to be be activated </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Very true, Leandros - Many bombs failed to explode, which was fortunate for the British as those bombs had smashed through several decks.

    Incidentally, according to the book, the Argentines set sail with their carrier not even sure if their Super Etendards could use the carrier!

    You are correct about Doenitz's 'Ten Years and Twenty Days'. I found it quite a dry read, but interesting nonetheless.
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